We need to elevate the profile of Oregon’s travel and tourism industry in Google’s ecosystem. We can do this by leveraging a program called Google My Business (GMB) and a product called Locl.
- GMB is a free, online service, provided by Google. GMB enables businesses to promote themselves and connect with customers, across Google Search and Google Maps.
- Locl is a separate, online service that builds on the GMB program framework. Locl makes it a lot easier for single and multi-location businesses to manage their GMB profile(s), create offers and events, engage with customer reviews, monitor business performance and act on insights. Through Travel Oregon’s partnership with Locl, travel and tourism businesses are able to access Locl for free through 2022.
Note: If you are unfamiliar with GMB, we encourage you to watch the Inspire Confidence with Online Listings During COVID-19 training session. This training was offered as a part of Travel Oregon’s Small Business Marketing Series.
- View up to 18 months of analytics data at a time (GMB only persists last 90 days’ worth).
- View analytics for all locations in a single view/dashboard (GMB requires you to view each location, one at a time).
- Manage updates to multiple locations at once in Locl (GMB requires individual location updates, one at a time).
- Locl provides you with GMB optimization recommendations, upon login (GMB does not).
- Locl enables you to see all your customer reviews, across locations, in a single view (GMB does not).
- Locl provides a real person to answer your questions (GMB does not provide this level of support).
- Travel Oregon is also here to help. If you have questions about Google My Business, Locl and/or OTIS, please reach out.
* Note: Locl also provides a Premium option (not financially supported by Travel Oregon), which enables you to schedule posts (e.g. Events, Deals, etc.) and bulk upload photos. Neither of these services are provided by Google at this time. If you choose to opt in to Premium, you will be asked to provide payment information.
Why This Matters
Research shows that over 90% of internet searches happen in Google¹ and businesses with up-to-date Google listings are:
- 7 times more likely to be considered reputable
- 70% more likely to attract visits
- And 50% more likely to drive purchases²
We know there are tourism-related businesses in Oregon that have not claimed their business profile (somewhere in the range of 25-50% remain unclaimed and/or verified). And, nearly 40% of Oregon businesses need to update their profile, as they are missing key information (e.g. hours of operation, descriptions, temporary closures, etc.).³
Even if you choose not to connect your GMB profile to Locl, consider the following:
- GMB profiles are the single, largest source of organic exposure for businesses online.⁴
- GMB profiles are a significant signal for ranking in Google. Claiming and regular updating of a business profile (e.g. location updates, photos, customer reviews, etc.) will improve ranking on Google.⁴
- Google has shifted from search engine to answer engine (instead of clicking-through to a website for info, Google presents it information without you needing to click). Zero-click searches account for over half of Google’s search market share.⁵
- One of the largest drivers of zero-click searches are Google My Business listings and over 45% of ALL Google searches (e.g. Google Maps, Search, mobile, desktop, etc.) are local in nature.⁶
- The Google Maps product generates 3 billion direct connections between businesses and users per month.⁷
- 79% of consumers who use navigation apps as part of leisure travel use Google Maps.⁸
- 67% of survey respondents cited use of Maps’ “Explore Nearby” feature as part of researching or booking a recent trip.⁹